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CHAP, xi         THE CHURCH OF THE MYRELAION               197
and as  the monastery of the Emperor Romanus/ 1 roi) j8acr&Ae? fP$pavov. It was strictly speaking a convent, and became noteworthy for the distinguished rank of some of its inmates, and as the mausoleum in which the founder and many members of his family were laid to rest. Here Romanus IL sent his sister Agatha to take the veil, when he was obliged to dismiss her from the court to soothe the jealousy of his beautiful but wicked consort Theophano.2 Upon the abdication of Isaac Comnenus, his wife Aecatherina and her daughter Maria retired to the Myrelaion, and there learned that a crown may be a badge of slavery and the loss of it liberty.3 Here were buried Theodora/ the wife of Romanus Lecapenus, in 923, and, eight years later, his beloved son Christopher/ for whom he mourned, says the historian of "the event, with a sorrow c greater than the grievous mourning of the Egyptians,' Here also Helena, the daughter of Romanus Lecapenus, and wife of Constantine VII. Porphyrogenitus, was laid to rest, in 981, after an imposing funeral, in which the body was carried to the grave on a bier of gold adorned with pearls and other precious stones.6 To this monastery were transferred, from the monastery of S. Mamas, near the Gate of the Xylokerkou, the three sarcophagi, one of them a fine piece of work, containing the ashes of the Emperor Maurice and his children. And here also Romanus Lecapenus himself was interred in 948, his remains being brought from the island of Prot6, where his unfilial sons, Stephen and Constantine, had obliged him to spend the last years of his life as a monk.7
Architectural Features
The building is on the c four column * plan. The dome, placed on a circular drum, is supported on four piers, and divided into eight concave compartments, with windows in the
1 Tbeoph. Cont. p. 404.                    2 Ibid. pp. 461, 757.
3 Scylitzes, ut supra, pp. 648-49.         4 Theophu Cont. p. 402.
6  Ibid. p. 420.                                     Ibid, p. 473.
7  Ibid. pp. 403-4.